Yearn­ing for Techie Safety

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - AUTOMOTIVE - By Lynn Wal­ford Mo­tor Mat­ters

“Se­niors in the mar­ket for a new car may want to con­sider the po­ten­tial longterm ben­e­fits of choos­ing a ve­hi­cle with ad­vanced safety tech­nolo­gies,” said Jake Nel­son, AAA’s di­rec­tor of traf­fic safety & ad­vo­cacy. “Equip­ping a new car with the right fea­tures can help an aging driver re­main con­fi­dent be­hind the wheel and out of crashes.”

It’s still im­por­tant, how­ever, for driv­ers to un­der­stand each safety tech­nol­ogy, how it’s meant to be used, and its lim­its, says Nel­son who warns driv­ers not to be­come over re­liant on tech­nol­ogy. The tech­nol­ogy study rec­om­mends that ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers, deal­ers, and oth­ers need to ex­plore new ways of train­ing driv­ers to use ad­vanced in-ve­hi­cle safety sys­tems.

For­ward col­li­sion warn­ing and mit­i­ga­tion sys­tems use on-ve­hi­cle radars, cam­eras, other sen­sors, and com­puter in­tel­li­gence to de­ter­mine the sit­u­a­tions that could lead to a crash. These sys­tems can help pre­vent crashes by warn­ing driv­ers of a po­ten­tial col­li­sion or by au­to­mat­i­cally ap­ply­ing the brakes. For older driv­ers, this tech­nol­ogy can im­prove re­ac­tion times and re­duce crashes by up to 20 per­cent.

Au­to­matic crash no­ti­fi­ca­tion is rec­om­mended be­cause the sys­tems au­to­mat­i­cally alert emer­gency ser­vices in the event of a crash. Older driv­ers are more likely to suf­fer from the se­ri­ous ef­fects of a crash be­cause of their age, which means these sys­tems can pro­vide a greater safety ben­e­fit to se­niors. The best known provider of this kind of ser­vice is GM’s OnS­tar. Sim­i­lar ser­vices are avail­able such as Hyundai BlueLink Con­nected Care, Subaru Star­link Safety Plus, and Toy­ota Safety Con­nect.

Park as­sist with rearview dis­play in­cludes backup cam­eras and ob­sta­cle-de­tec­tion warn­ing sys­tems, which can help pre­vent crashes when pulling out of a park­ing space. About 95 per­cent of se­niors want these sys­tems in their next ve­hi­cle, while 55 per­cent re­ported that it could help re­duce driver stress and work­load.

Park­ing as­sist with cross-traf­fic warn­ing sys­tems use radar sen­sors to no­tify driv­ers of cross­ing ve­hi­cles when back­ing out of a park­ing space, and on some ve­hi­cles, the sys­tems can au­to­mat­i­cally apply the brakes to pre­vent a col­li­sion.

Semi-au­ton­o­mous park­ing as­sis­tance sys­tems take over steer­ing while mov­ing into both par­al­lel and per­pen­dic­u­lar park­ing spa­ces, which can re­duce stress and make park­ing eas­ier for older driv­ers.

Nav­i­ga­tion as­sis­tance with turn-by­turn GPS map­ping can pro­vide older driv­ers with in­creased feel­ings of safety, con­fi­dence, at­ten­tive­ness, and re­lax­ation, which can help se­niors re­main focused on the road and more com­fort­able be­hind the wheel.

The re­ports’ find­ings are im­por­tant be­cause a record 36 mil­lion adults ages 65 and older drive in the United States -and this num­ber is ex­pected to in­crease sub­stan­tially over the next decade. Re­cent AAA Foun­da­tion re­search has found that se­niors who give up driv­ing are al­most two times more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence de­pres­sion and nearly five times as likely to en­ter a long-term care fa­cil­ity.

“Per­ma­nently giv­ing up the keys can have se­vere con­se­quences for the health and men­tal well-be­ing of older adults,” said Peter Kissinger, AAA Foun­da­tion for traf­fic safety’s President and CEO. “New tech­nolo­gies and a fo­cus on safe driv­ing can help se­niors re­main be­hind the wheel for years to come.”

Older adults also can ex­tend their driv­ing years by adopt­ing strate­gies that re­duce their risk on the road. The re­search finds that many se­niors can im­prove their safety by avoid­ing chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tions, such as driv­ing at night, in bad weather, dur­ing rush-hour traf­fic, in un­fa­mil­iar ar­eas, or on the high­way. In ad­di­tion, se­niors who suc­cess­fully con­tinue to drive are less likely to en­gage in po­ten­tially dis­tract­ing be­hav­iors, such as talk­ing on a cell­phone. Many older driv­ers also are less likely to speed or fre­quently change lanes, which can fur­ther re­duce crash risks.

Copy­right, Mo­tor Mat­ters, 2016

LYNN WAL­FORD

Park as­sist with rearview dis­play in­cludes backup cam­eras and ob­sta­cle-de­tec­tion warn­ing sys­tems, which can help pre­vent crashes when pulling out of a park­ing space. Park­ing as­sist with cross-traf­fic warn­ing sys­tems use radar sen­sors to no­tify driv­ers of cross­ing ve­hi­cles when back­ing out of a park­ing space, and on some ve­hi­cles, the sys­tems can au­to­mat­i­cally apply the brakes to pre­vent a col­li­sion.

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